“Are you here to see the Tufted Titmouse?”

Yesterday I was looking for a new spot to go birding for my birthday. Although we’re close to the border with Wisconsin, I’d never really thought about looking into Kenosha Co. parks or preserves before. I did a little Googlin’ and found that the Pringle Nature Center in Bristol was just a half hour drive from our house. So this morning we set off to do a little leisurely Wisconsin birding.

Upon arrival at the Nature Center’s parking lot, we donned our cold weather gear and slung on binoculars and camera. We entered the large facility and the first words I heard were, “Are you here to see the Tufted Titmouse?”

Now, TUTIs range through northern Illinois and Wisconsin and beyond, but they are kind of rare in our county. Looking at eBird, there were a handful of reported Tufted Titmouse sightings in Lake County last year over four different months. There were even fewer sightings in Kenosha County in 2009. Bottom line, we don’t expect to see TUTIs when we go birding locally. So the question from the Nature Center staff member was a welcome one, indeed. Apparently a Tufted Titmouse has been visiting the feeders at Pringle all winter, and it had been seen earlier this morning. We didn’t have to wait long before we saw the little cutie ourselves.

After watching the feeders for a while we headed out on the trails for a slog through the wet, heavy snow. There are over four miles of trails through the Bristol Woods County Park adjacent to the Nature Center.

We saw few birds on our walk but we saw many exposed nests in the bare trees. I bet this is a great place to bird in the spring and I’m sure we’ll be back to check it out. We walked about 1.6 miles before returning to watch the feeders some more. For the visit we saw 12 species, most at the feeders.

What a great birthday treat to find a great new birding spot plus a totally unexpected bird!

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